Going… going… gone!

It was going… going… gone! last week as I attended Savills’ property auction in Grosvenor Square, and there was an extra buzz in the room as the auction was being televised for an episode of BBC’s daytime auction show Homes under the Hammer.

I have known the head auctioneer for Savills, Chris Coleman Smith, for two decades and when we arrived in what would be the ballroom of the Grosvenor Hotel at 11.30am, he was already 40 lots into his swing. It was fascinating to watch him interact with the room full of bidders. His astute professionalism, experience and showmanship really came to the fore and he was in a league of his own with the room following his every move.

I wasn’t there just to admire my old friend’s masterful auctioneering skills though; I attended the auction with a client as we were jointly marketing and listing two properties in Shepherds Bush.There were 150 lots on offer, ranging from the saddest studio to the largest house, both inside and outside of London. The guide prices ranged from a paltry £10,000 to a much more healthy investment of £800,000.

The crowd of would-be buyers numbered at least 500 and from the outset there was fierce competitive bidding from both buyers in the room and over the phone.I was very wary of a Del Boy moment and spent the whole time desperately hoping that I did not unknowingly bid on a property. I can honestly say my nose has never twitched so much as I studiously avoided eye contact with Chris!

One client with whom I have previously worked with had a lot in the auction: a freehold, fashionably un-modernised, ex-housing association property in Fulham, with a guide price of £600,000. I watched on as there was competitive bidding from the start, which escalated between several would-be buyers, and the room was in awe as the too-ing and fro-ing between interested parties drove the price to above £1million. It was far more than the client had expected, and as soon as the hammer hit the lectern and they were off to celebrate!

My client’s lot eventually came up and despite some frantic bidding the first lot did not sell. However, the following lot of his did so the day was not wasted. He was happy, although he was hoping for higher prices on a similar scale to the earlier Fulham property.

The next day there was twist in the story however as the under bidder from the hotel ballroom auction must have had a restless night’s sleep and returned to the auctioneers first thing in the morning.He had reconsidered his offer and the deal was done that day at Savills’ Sloane Street office. One happy buyer and one happy client; there are always merits to selling by auction or by private treaty.

So, if you are considering moving or selling and would like to hear our professional advice on the pros and cons of each method of sale, please do pop in and see us or contact one of the team.